Upstream Battle

80% of marine litter comes from land.
Washed into gutters, blown into streams, lost down drains: litter is carelessly discarded.
So to tackle marine litter, we have to stop litter’s journey from source to sea.
Upstream Battle raises awareness, gathers evidence and inspires action.
We connect communities, individuals, schools, and the private and public sectors.
We all have a part to play in keeping our waterways clean and protecting our seas.

What is Upstream Battle?

It’s estimated that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic gets into the sea each and every year – that's a truck full of litter a minute. It's killing wildlife, threatening ecosystems and habitats, and is extremely difficult and expensive to clean up. 

Many initiatives that tackle marine litter are targeted at cleaning up our beaches or trying to remove litter from the sea once it's there. But, as 80% of all marine litter comes from land, we also need to face this problem upstream, where litter is washed into gutters, blown into streams or carelessly discarded. Worryingly, we are seeing a steady increase in the amount of land-based litter, which means there's a greater chance it'll end up in the sea. 

We must stop this cycle of litter and prevent it from entering the sea in the first place.

Upstream Battle focuses on changing littering behaviour to prevent marine litter at source along rivers in Scotland. We are working along rivers and their tributaries, to raise awareness, gather evidence and inspire action.

12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the marine environment every year.
80% of marine litter comes from land.
88% of people living in Scotland believe the amount of litter in rivers is a problem.




How do we do this?

Action on the River

During the Source to Sea Spring Clean on the Tay in April 2023, we completed six litter picks, at three locations along the River Tay, in just one week - removing more than 150kg of litter from the river, which would otherwise have made its way downstream and into the sea. 

Supported by funding from Crown Estate Scotland, we were able to work with three local outdoor providers and Upstream Battle® Anchor Groups, to provide places for members of the public to take part in a water and land-based litter pick, to remove litter from the river and banks as we travelled from source to sea down the River Tay.

Help us clean up our rivers and protect our seas

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